Preta

Always thirsty,

Always drinking,

Always hungry,

Never shrinking.

Preta.

In the darkness of the night, the stars tear holes in the black canvas shrouding the earth so they can peep through, decorating the sky with twinkling lights, playing hide and seek with each other and shooting at each other through the silent vacuum of the universe.

A shadow slinks behind the walls of houses. It creeps through the stinking back alleys where rubbish bins line the brick walls neatly, oozing bin juice. It pauses, sniffs, and slinks into an open bin. It guzzles, and slips out again, prowling for more. Its breath rattles in its throat, almost like a death rattle, and as it climbs out of yet another bin, its large, round belly glows in the dim light from the street lamps just outside the alleyway.

Another creature, with the same protruding belly and glowing eyes, slinks around the corner. It stops, eyeing its counterpart on the bin, and a low snarl starts in its throat. Hunger propels its forward, a deep, prolonged ache to fill an unknown void, and it rolls into the dustbin and begins to scavenge for food.

The rattling sound echoes through the alleyway, and a window above is thrown open. Light floods over the cobbles, and a low hiss emanates from the dustbin, as both creatures shy away from the brightness.

The cats are in the bins again, Hank!’

 

I came across this creature here, if you’re interested for background on the creature known as ‘preta’, or ‘hungry ghost’.

 

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Twilight Terrors

It isn’t dark.

It isn’t light, either.

It is the tricky light; where the sky is clear as day, but earth is filled with shapes and shadows, which move when they shouldn’t.

They slink behind trees, and peer from the pale walls of white houses.

They watch, silently, as you go about your business.

Maybe they hide in the backseat of your car, so you turn around quickly when you get in, but they always vanish just in time.

Maybe you hear their cackle echo as they shoot round the corner, like a vanishing puff, and you aren’t sure if you saw something, or if the not-quite-darkness played a trick on your eyes.

The best weapon for this time of night is a warm jacket. Make sure the inside lining is soft, and make sure you drown in your jacket. It’s the only way to keep you safe from the Twilight Terrors.

The Last Day

It was the last day of summer.

The last day the frogs leapt in unison. The last day the Rooks flew into town, sailing on the wafts of music which floated up between the long fingers of flutists. The last day peach gowns were worn, gossamer and chiffon wafting gently in the breeze as though underwater.

It was the longest day of the year, the shortest night. Some reckoned the night didn’t come at all, because the sun was peeking blearily over the tip of the horizon, hiding her fiery hair, but not quite low enough so her rays didn’t escape and lighten the blackness of night.

Penny’s parents were preparing for the sunset, the sunset that would never come.They ran around the kitchen like headless chickens, and she smiled to herself.

She watched them from her corner in the kitchen, where the small window fit neatly into the little alcove, and was a porthole to the view of the sharp, steep landscape outside their house. She sat on a small red cushion, worn and faded from years of use, on the small wooden window seat.

When she turned back to the view outside, she saw the Rooks. An entire flock of them. A colossal black cloud, swirling over the mountainous city, like an ominous vortex. Their hoarse cries rising in the sky, a bellow of extortionate proportions. The very utensils shook on their hooks, the mugs rattled and the cupboard doors vibrated with the sound of over a thousand of them, and Penny slammed her hands over her ears.

The music from the city was drowned, and the sun sank lower in the horizon. She watched as they soared around the city once, twice, and a third, final time, before they swooped upward, covering the sky, and bringing darkness onto the world. Pitch blackness draped her window, and Penny found herself looking at the glass and seeing only her dim reflection, and the reflection of the wooden kitchen in it.

She turned to her parents, they had stopped what they were doing, and were standing, frozen, eyes on the window. The house began to hum with the screeching outside. It was beyond anything she could imagine, and even though they heard it every year, the sound was momentous. Time-stopping. Gut-wenching. She felt it in her bones, her heart was beating to the sound of it. Her breathing changed to match the shift in tune. The sound was increasing. Louder and louder, the vibrations more and more intense, until, as the clanging orchestra outside reached its peak, a sudden silence filled the room. The darkness outside surged, replaced by a dim twilight, and Penny stared up at an empty sky.

The Rooks had vanished.

The remaining twilight would hang over the world for a few weeks, before the black tendrils of winter edged their way across the sky, bringing frost and snow.

The last day of summer.

 

 

Footprints in the Sand

This short piece of fiction is part of a challenge put together by fellow blogger Frank from AFrankAngle – Check his post out!

On Footprints in the Sand.

Here is mine.

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Footprints in the Sand

The sun rose slowly in the horizon, its rays gradually strengthening to the music of waves crashing on the shore. Loud, then soft, then loud again, as the tide pulled the frothy waters away from the ascending sand-dunes, only for it to come scrambling back up again, reaching foamy fingers higher up the dunes each time.

The beach was empty, save for a few gulls calling dismally as their soft bodies were buffeted by the winds high in the sky.

The remains of yesterday were completely wiped away by the tides. It was fresh and new as though someone had washed the world and removed all human traces from the sand. No sandcastles, no left-behind toys, and all conversations that wafted on the gentle sea breeze had long been snatched away, sailing far over the seas to distant lands.

No, the beach was fresh this morning. Ready for a new horde of laughter and life. Lively in anticipation, bringing rose-tinted blue skies and soft, pillowy clouds scudding across as though in a hurry to be gone before the sun had completely reclaimed her power.

The beach was empty, for now, in these blissful early morning hours. The beach was empty, and restful, yet oddly restless.

The beach was empty, and yet a set of footprints made their way solidly across the dry sand just inches away from the water, pattering, forming, collapsing in on themselves all along the beach line and into the brightness in the distance, and there was nobody there to make the mark.

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On a Footprints Challenge

I am going to be participating in this excellent challenge by Frank, from A Frank Angle. If you love writing, especially short stories, then this is the challenge you will certainly enjoy. If you’re interested, please check it out on Frank’s page, and maybe join too! 🙂

A Frank Angle

It’s challenge time!

Long-time visitors to my little corner of the world know that writing fiction isn’t my thing. With over 1,900 posts, I’ve written one fiction post. Actually two because the original post did turn into a short story challenge that involved me changing my original story.

Not that I’m changing my format in on these pages, but what the heck – let’s try it again!

1. Write a short story based on the image below in the genre of your choice.


2. The story must be 150 words or less.

3. Publish your story after I post mine (Monday, July 10th @ 12:15 am Eastern US) AND link back to the post with my story (not this post).

4. Display the image above your story

5. The story title must be Footprints in the Sand

6. Display the following image after the story.

View original post

Child’s Play

The small boys were in the field. Their naked backs glistening in the sunlight, panting. The sun was climbing in the sky, the haze of noon accentuated here and there by the buzz of insects and the mournful calls of tired birdsong. Still, they worked, rivulets pouring down their backs, scrabbling hungrily into the earth. The sun rose ever higher, and their bodies sunk deeper into the ground, grunts emanating from the caverns they created, feverishly digging, fingers turning into claws, breath shooting from dripping nostrils until, finally, one of them rose with a strangled shout.

‘I found the corpse!’

Reaper

My attempt at a 100 word story.

Merrin Reaper was a charmer.

He belonged to the Hill people, renowned for their electric blue hair and waif figures. Five foot tall, and a brilliant smile. Everybody loved Merrin, even the big people down by the river. Too bulky to venture near the Hills for fear of trampling on those mines, they only ever dwelled on the banks.

Merrin tripped there daily. An ear for everyone, and a comforting shoulder for those in mourning. It was hinted at darkly that there was a dark shadow behind the small fellow.

Merrin knew better, of course. It was his brother, Grim.

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Love Letters #6

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October was cold. Stating the obvious, of course. Why shouldn’t October be cold? It has every right to, being the pathway to winter and all that. It leads us straight into misty November, it’s when all the leaves wither away in a cascade of vibrant colour.

Yellows and reds and browns were the colours of our days together. I met him on October the first. He was my October boy.

Our boots crunching on the dry leaves scattered around the grass in the park, or squelching on the soggy piles on the shiny wet pavements of the early twilights. Our cold hands intertwined, and we squelched on through the nights. Memories of sweet little conversations over the crunch-squelch-swish through the wet, dripping streets of October.

He would wait everyday outside the university gates, and I would rush out in my tights and red lipstick that I smacked on as I hurried down the stairs after my late lectures. I had to be glamorous for him, even after a long day of work and running my fingers through my hair. His deep brown eyes always lit up when he saw me, and he would hold his elbow out to me so I could slip my hand through, just like a gentleman.

We walked down the avenue of trees, through the park, down another avenue of trees and into the side streets where my flat sat hunched in the furthest corner of a rickety yellow block. There ivy crawling up the side of the outside walls and peeping into my windows.

That October was particularly cold. He brought me a lizard home once. Not alive. Skinned and roasted. In newspaper. Like it was fish and chips. It was tough, like overcooked chicken. But tasty. He brought me a pair of thick, woolly socks which I would wear in bed because our heating conked out. Our noses, protruding from the covers, were icy.

On October the 31st, he vanished.

He wasn’t outside the gates. I thought maybe he was kept in later at work. Sometimes that happened, but he always left me a message beforehand. I went home and made some butternut squash soup, put my socks on and wrote a bit of my dissertation. Lucy dropped by, black lipstick smudged, and begged me to come out.

We had some soup and bread, and she left.

Eleven o’clock. I got into my PJs and brushed my teeth. Turning off the lights, I walked over to the window and peered out between the ivy. Street lamps threw pale glowing circles onto the cobbles outside the block. Black railings opposite me glinted on one side with moonlight. I heard the loud clack of heels on the cobbles, and heard them fade away, a peal of laughter echoing around the silent walls.

I stood there for so long that I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, so I meandered back to bed. I could smell him on my pillow. I buried my head into his scent.

That October was the coldest we’d ever had.

The next day was the first of November, and I woke up to mist clinging, clammy, to my windows. I wore my woolly socks under my boots to university, and walked all funny. Every French accent had my head turning sharply. A shock of black hair on a tall boy, and I stared intently until they turned their head to reveal a face so different from his that a lump rose in my throat.

Maria,

You were the sweetest. Always thinking of you.

Tristan

 

 

Love Letters #3

 

Dear Laura,

It has been five months. I haven’t had not a single reply from you. I can’t take this anymore, I feel a fool. I go daily to the post office to see if there is a letter from you. John receives weekly volumes from you detailing the lives of everybody including the cat, and I receive nothing. It disheartens a fellow, I tell you. Mary tells me you write to me. Perhaps she is wrong. The only letters I look out for are yours, Laura. 

Tom

****

Dear Laura,

I love you, I have always loved you, since the day I saw you wearing your blue dress and knocking Adam out with a great punch to his stomach, your golden curls askew. Your Mama was livid, I recall, and John was mighty embarrassed of his rogue little sister, disrupting the choir so. I fell in love with you and your passion, Laura. I couldn’t help myself. I loved you when you pushed me into the lake because I told you your dress was pretty, I loved you when you put a fish in my shoes because I gave Mary such a scolding. You made me laugh, you made me happy. I loved you when we all grew up and you pretended you were such a lady but really you were swinging on the barn swing while everybody was enjoying a demure dance at the party, your dress tied high around your waist. I am positively mad for you I can’t even begin to tell you. You bring laughter into my heart and you are so feisty and passionate and untameable but I want to tame you. I want to marry you, Laura, I want to be yours alone, and do away with the Williams and the Roberts and the Georges who spill all over the pages of your small novellas to John. To hell with them all. I want you.

****

Laura,

Please see the books I promised you in this parcel. 

Tom

****

Dear Laura,

I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know why I keep writing to you. You’re so changed when I see you, and promise me you’ll write, and laugh and jest with me just like old times, but when I’m gone its as though I don’t exist, and Johnny gets all his letters while I look on with burning jealousy. He is your brother, I know, but we are friends, are we not? Life here is hectic and busy. We dissected a human yesterday. It was mighty tough stuff, and some fellows of faint heart were quite overcome and had to be hauled out by the rest of us so we could carry on with our bloody work. You would have loved to be here, I know, and I thought of you as we examined the lungs. You will probably not reply to this, but know that John and I both miss you and Mary and the babies and everybody else, and look forward to seeing you all come the glorious long days of summer.

Tom

****

 

Dear Tom,

I miss you

I have been keeping busy here. It hasn’t been too cold this winter, and the crops have been kind to us. I’ve been fishing a few times with Mary, but she is really tired out by the twins. They are crawling everywhere now on their chubby hands and knees, gurgling at us like precious little angels with peachy cheeks. I am constantly popping over to Mary’s, I think her and Edmund must be quite sick of me! But oh I only go to drop my kisses on those babies and give them a nice little cuddle, soon they’ll be all grown up and flying off to their own little nests and oh how old I shall feel. Joyce Poole at the post office has had quite a spell, and has had to take some leave. Mr Poole’s sent her off to the seaside, and we waved her off at the train station. She’s been awfully cold with me lately and I couldn’t fathom why, until her Mama came over with a box containing all these letters addressed to me in your hand. Underneath my letters, were the ones (dozens and dozens of them!) that I’d written to you. Mrs Poole was beside herself and told me she didn’t quite know what to say and that Joyce really wasn’t herself. Oh Tom, I know what it’s all about. You took her to Margery’s coming out ball before you left, and left her quite heartbroken. Not a single letter, I’m told, and not even a proper goodbye. She was jealous, thinking, poor soul, that there was something going on between us, and so she thought she would put a stop to it by waylaying our correspondence, being in charge of the post, as she was. And there I would be, asking her for my post, rifling through the envelopes to see if there was anything from you! Anyway. That’s over now. I do blame you, though, you heartbreaker. I haven’t opened any of your letters, and shan’t until you get here. We can read them together and have a right old laugh, I think! Oh do hurry up and come back with Johnny in tow, we haven’t had any fun for a long time and Aunt Meg’s house needs brightening up.

Love,

Laura.

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Pud Muddle

I am drowning

under a pile

of

complex literary analysis.

I don’t

understand

anything.

I don’t

CARE

about

Wordsworth’s inner life.

I really am

Trying to rouse interest.

“Oh, look,” says my

Mind.

“Your mother loves Grasmere.”

Struggling to find

something in common

with

this poem.

That she does,

that she does.

Do it for her

at least.

But I don’t want to.

Coffee is not helping

not a smidgen.

Nature is beautiful

I try to tell myself

Of course it is,

Of course

But I don’t care for William’s

depiction

of it.

Perhaps I might,

if I wasn’t forced to analyse it

using intricate terms

that I can’t pronounce.

Like

ANDALIPLOSIS

and

ANTIMETABOLE

and

PLOCE

Which sounds like it should be Plaice

Like the fish.

But it isn’t.

And I haven’t the

faintest

clue

what it could be.

I have this awful deadline

which smells of rotten fish.

Or Plaice.

And

I don’t

Care

I really

Just

Want to sleep

and be cuddled.

This

Is Torture.